To Comfort The Afflicted
And Afflict The Comfortable

To Comfort The Afflicted And Afflict The Comfortable

Saturday, July 2, 2022


Missing Gray Matter


“No matter what it is that frightens or enrages us in our complex, chaotic, and often unsettling world, guns are the answer.”

That quote is from a June 6 New Yorker magazine article titled How Did Guns Get So Powerful? by Phil Klay. Klay begins his piece by pointing out it is the “how” part of the debate rather than the “why” question that should dominate.

The why’s are endless and complex; mostly known, sometimes not. But the how piece is increasingly simple because another “piece” – known as an AR-15 or some variation thereof – has come to dominate the discussions, which can be helpful but, then again, too often just absurd. Absurd as in “we need our 15s because they are best for killing feral hogs, or raccoons” or insert your own varmint that cries out for killing in the night while 19 children and two teachers were being buried the days before and after in Uvalde, TX as well as other mass shooting victims in Buffalo, NY or even here in the heartland of Tulsa, OK.

Klay’s commentary provides a useful and interesting tracing of the role played in America of guns, from the first known fatal shooting by and eventual conviction for murder of John Billington in 1630. He plugged John Newcomen, another member of the Plymouth Colony, in the shoulder which eventually proved fatal whereas today over 20 million Americans who own AR-15s could unleash unspeakable havoc anywhere, anytime for any reason, excuse, slight or misstep.

Of course, most won’t, but try telling that to the survivors of such attacks in schools, churches, concerts, movie houses or any other square foot of what we proudly call America … land of the free and home of the brave.

The fact is, even military geniuses often don’t understand or remotely comprehend the increasing lethality of guns as designed and developed over the last couple of centuries. Take, for example, the American Civil War. Soldiers on both sides lined up in column formation, walked or marched into sheets of death rendered by mini balls and repeated the process over a period of four years.

Fifty years later, European politicians proved they had learned nothing from the American slaughter by selecting generals on both sides who sent whole divisions of men “over the top” into the ravages of newly developed machine guns that harvested the young lives as efficiently as combines do wheat today.

Then, of course, came the 1930s when mafia gangs in Chicago, Detroit and New York City outgunned the men in blue which led finally to our Congress banning ownership of machine guns by the general public.

Yet today AR-15s and their knockoffs are even more efficient at killing quickly, randomly and massively than any of their predecessors.

So, one might ask, if outlawing machine guns in use nearly 100 years ago was not violative of the 2nd Amendment, and no court has ruled that it was, why is the proposal to also rid our nation of 20 million similar killing machines wrong today?

Cops were, for the most part, the targets of Al Capone and his ilk while today’s mass murderers choose children, church-goers and grocery shoppers on whom to inflict their madness yesterday, today and, of course, tomorrow.

The answer is as sad as it is simple. Lawmakers today are driven by campaign money, the overwhelming desire to remain in office, and a massive growth of special interest factions and their lobbyists.

However, what seems to be missing in abundance is what most every human is born with … a spine for courage, a brain for thinking and a heart for caring.

Why we keep electing and re-electing these genetically-impaired folks to be our “public servants” perhaps signals they are not the only ones missing massive amounts of gray matter.

Or, as Caesar once, said “Et tu, Brute?” which translates to “also you, Brutus?”

Hmmm. I know my brain is around here somewhere. Better find it before November.

Cal Hobson
Cal Hobson
Cal Hobson, a Lexington Democrat, served in the Oklahoma Legislature from 1978-2006, including one term as Senate President Pro Tempore.